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White House, The

A community centre and exhibition occupying a restored Art Deco roadhouse on Niddrie Mains Road in the Craigmillar district of Edinburgh, 2½ miles (4 km) southeast of the city centre. The work of William Innes Thomson in 1936, this was a new form of refreshment and entertainment venue, on the edge of the countryside designed for a public given freedom of travel via the motor car to drive out to. It included lounge and saloon bars, a tea room, skittle alley and a billiard room and is now B-listed. Similar roadhouses were located in the south of the city at Fairmilehead (now demolished) and west at Maybury.

The White House developed into a local public house serving Craigmillar and was owned for many years by Tennent Caledonian Breweries. However, it declined in the later 20th C. and closed around 2000, having gained a reputation for trouble and been the focus of a series of fires. The derelict building was hit by serious blaze in 2005.

In 2007, the building was bought by Parc Craigmillar Ltd., a local authority owned company tasked with the regeneration of the area. Funds were obtained from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund and Historic Scotland to enable a £2 million restoration. On 18th September 2013, it was reopened as a community centre by Alex Neil (b. 1951), Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, and is now run by the Community Alliance Trust. It includes a community cafe and volunteering centre.

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